Thursday, April 05, 2007


Passion, the Thin Wire of Grief: Diana O Hehir

Actually, the metaphor in the heading comes from George Oppen, a poet's poet, but somehow it describes very well the poetry of Diana O Hehir.

She's Berkeley, California born and raised, and she's nurtured many upcoming poets by teaching for many years at Mills College. She also writes wonderful novels, I Wish This War Were Over and The Bride Who Ran Away among them. She pops up online in frequently.

The following poem has always knocked my socks off. It's from her book The Power to Change Geography.


Turning toward you in this pale room
With your shoulders bent, your head ducked forward, that vulnerable
Film across the eyes, the shadow
Of everything I’ve been waiting for,

Love comes in to us, heavy and stale-winged, powder of dust upon its feet, layers

Of waiting filling me up to the edges of my life; there’s no corner
That doesn’t have your cushioning in it.

The medium I move in, my need, a soft silk, the clinging
Air we breathe, the brooding
Of tents, heavy as low cloud, shapeless, surrounding,
All is our ache, made out of forbidden stuff.
Live in me, I say to you now.

Around us the weave of an indestructible listening,
Love, a dark heavy sister waits over us,
Her watching so strong it melts the backbone, brings
Our word out of its grave, its hair thick in dust, its dark eyes wild.

That is so beautiful. I read it several times. I may understand what she is saying.
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